With WrestleMania 34 in the rear view, a new year of storylines begins afresh in WWE, with new feuds, new titles, Superstar Shake-Ups and more. However, I’m still left scratching my head at all that we saw happen, not to mention all the things that we thought could happen but then didn’t for some reason unbeknownst to us. Here is a look at some of those things rumored that we never got to see take place how we expected.
Goldberg Winning Battle Royal:
As WrestleMania was approaching, there was lots of speculation online as to who we may see as surprise entrants to the Battle Royals. The most significant rumor was that 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Goldberg would not only be wrestling at ‘Mania but would be winning this year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. There was no appearance from the former WCW star, and Matt Hardy would be the one to win with a little help…
Bray Wyatt’s New Character:
With Matt Hardy defeating Bray Wyatt in the Ultimate Deletion last month, followed by many cryptic tweets from Bray regarding a ‘change,’ many were led to believe that the Eater of Worlds would become Broken Bray or Woken Bray Wyatt. During the last few minutes of the Andre Battle Royal his former enemy Matt would make it to the previous three before an appearance from Bray, who would attack the other competitors, feeding them towards Matt for him to gain the win, the two now being aligned but Bray seems to be the same character.
Rusev Getting Pushed:
Also leading up to ‘Mania there were reports of Rusev’s increase in merchandise sales being responsible for his insertion into the United States Championship Triple Threat making it a Four Way. This is without mentioning how hugely over Rusev has become with his Rusev Day gimmick, even earning the chants of Ring of Honor fans. You know you’re over when fans at another promotions show are chanting your catchphrase. The sensible thing here would have been to pass the title on to Rusev and have a huge pop when he won. This didn’t happen, and he instead was pinned by Jinder Mahal. It may be worth noting that Rusev is now facing the Undertaker at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia, meaning there would have been little point in having Rusev win the belt at ‘Mania.
Intercontinental Five Way:
In the weeks before ‘Mania, Elias and Braun Strowman were still not penciled in for matches at ‘Mania, with rumors being that they would instead be in a non-wrestling role or entered into the Battle Royal. When there was no-one to team with Rousey yet, before Kurt was announced as partner, Braun was one of the names spoken of due to how the Survivor Series match ended last year, in which Triple H angered Braun enough to face his wrath, yet there has never been a conclusion to that story, with this being the perfect opportunity. He was not Ronda’s partner, and Kurt got announced, the Intercontinental title match had already been made into a three-way, and with how people were being packed into the matches on the stacked card it was expected for Braun and Elias to be shoved into this match to give them places on the card. Braun instead went into the tag scene, and Elias wrestled Cena briefly.
The Rock Returning:
As of late Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has made regular appearances at ‘Mania, with this year being seeing him rumored to join Ronda Rousey to team up against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Back at WrestleMania 31 the two of them confronted Triple H and Steph leading to the match that would eventually take place, the problem being that originally Kurt Angle was not going to be the partner, The Rock was. This would have made much more sense given the previous encounter; however, due to problems with ensuring a Hollywood star to perform in a match where he could face injury, we got no performance this year from him.
Another Hollywood star who was spoken of in regards to being Rousey’s teammate was Batista, who has spoken many times about wanting to return to do a full program with Triple H leading to a WrestleMania match. There was no official talk of this though, and nothing came to fruition, leading to Angle being made the partner.
Elias ft. The Rock & JJ:
When the Rock couldn’t be confirmed for a match, and Elias said to be in a non-wrestling segment, there was talk of Elias doing a musical performance, where he would be interrupted by the Rock or vice versa. Eventually, these rumors evolved into Jeff Jarrett being involved, and either him or Elias hitting one another with their guitars. None of this happened and Elias was instead used as a time filler for the Cena/Undertaker segment.
Rey Mysterio Returns:
There were two rumours for this, him being Braun’s mystery partner or him facing Cena, after Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated reported that Mysterio was backstage at a SmackDown taping in talks for the ‘Mania match and that Undertaker would not be wrestling. Neither of these turned out to be true though and Mysterio was never booked to appear, with his meetings more likely to be in relation to the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia this week that he has been announced for.
Undertaker Not Wrestling:
As previously mentioned, an initial rumour was that the Undertaker would not be at the show and had never been actually announced, had ignored all of Cena’s pleas for a match and was saying nothing to give any hint as to whether he would show up. This later evolved into him showing up and setting up a match for WrestleMania 35, rather than actually wrestling this year. He did however show up and wrestle, just not how we were expecting…
The other rumour regarding the Deadman was that he would in fact return as his early 2000’s American Badass biker gimmick. Taker left his hat and coat in the ring last year at ‘Mania 33 and since then has given no clue as to his intentions other than his cryptic promo at ‘Raw 25’. John Cena in the weeks leading up to this year’s show had disrespected the Undertaker big time, so that mixed with the thought in everyone’s mind that the Deadman gimmick was retired, not to mention Kid Rock, the artist who performed the theme song for the American Badass, being inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame class as one of the celebrity inductees, leading many to think the gimmick was going to be the one we saw this year to face Cena. We instead got the Deadman gimmick, John Cena running around the arena, watching matches, fighting Elias and looking sad, followed by a gong and a rather quick squash match, the Undertaker dominated Cena for the win within minutes.
Braun’s Partner A Returning Star:
When Braun became the number one contender for the tag titles on his own, he was informed that he had to find a partner, weeks ensued where we could only speculate on who it could be. Many names were put forward as great choices, however on the night Braun decided to choose a ‘random’ member of the audience to be his partner. His partner being 10 year old Nicholas, later revealed online to be the son of referee John Cone.
With this being the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’ it was expected by many that Carmella would cash in her Money in the Bank briefcase on the winner of either of the Women’s Championship matches, she instead took part in the first ever WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal.
Bryan Heel Turn:
We also saw the long awaited return of Daniel Bryan to in-ring action. With there being a lot of friction between all parties involved in this match, fans were sure that either Bryan would betray Shane, aligning with Owens and Zayn, or that Shane would attack Bryan in response to believing the trio were aligned. Either way none of these things happened and all of them had a solid match with Bryan picking up the win on his return.
Rousey vs Charlotte:
When Ronda Rousey debuted at the end of the Royal Rumble event to stare down Asuka and Charlotte Flair, it was rumoured that her first match would be at ‘Mania against the SmackDown Women’s Champion, Rousey instead ended up in the mixed tag match while Asuka would choose to face Charlotte following her Royal Rumble win.
Asuka’s Streak Intact:
One of the more widely believed rumours was that Asuka would beat Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s title, remaining undefeated, which would see her go all the way to next year’s WrestleMania 35 to defend against Ronda Rousey who would finally end the streak. WWE decided that this wasn’t as good an idea as we all thought, having Charlotte defeat Asuka with the Figure Eight.
Banks vs Bayley:
We have also been teased for months regarding the eventual encounter between Sasha Banks and Bayley. Banks eliminated Bayley from the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble and also betrayed her at the Elimination Chamber event, causing the two of them to slowly build a huge rivalry that has recently exploded big time. Fans wanted the two to face off in a singles match, a repeat of their NXT classic, yet all we got was a short stare down and Bayley managing to eliminate Banks. To be continued…
Roman’s Big Win/Heyman Turn/Brock Leaves:
For a whole year we had been fed talk of this match happening, so when t was made we already believed the rumoured results, Reigns was going over, Lesnar was going to leave and go back to UFC and Heyman has spoken candidly in interviews about how much he would like to work with a Roman Reigns. Many of us expected Heyman to turn of Lesnar setting up the long awaited Reigns heel turn, we all knew Roman was winning we just didn’t know how. President of UFC Dana White had already leaked that Brock was going back to UFC and WWE spread the whispers of their displeasure with the Beasts lack of care lately. We all got majorly worked, the match finished was changed on the Raw before ‘Mania and Lesnar re-signed to WWE while also signing some sort of deal to fight for UFC.
One thing that I can say definitely happened was that the dirt sheets got well and truly worked, so did we, for blindly believing all that we read on the internet, evidenced by just how many of us thought Roman would win. However if you all remember those pics from Rousey’s film team on Rumble day, you will have realised that WWE has once again figured out how to dupe us, even going as far as to stage a backstage altercation between Vince and Brock after the match in an effort to throw off any moles, the story breaking in the internet shortly after, their job was done. Maybe next time we will pay a little less attention to the rumours and just sit back and enjoy the show with no expectations, after all, we could all end up being pleasantly surprised.